The Kills in Toronto 2012: A Review

February 9, 2012 at 3:45 am (Uncategorized)

Note: I couldn’t find a cable to upload the pictures I took of the show, so check back tomorrow and we’ll see.

It was quite a bit colder in Toronto Tuesday night than in recent days. Still, as we shivered outside, we were warmed by the knowledge, the Kills were only a short time away.

I’d seem the Kills twice before: At the Phoenix in 2009 and at the Sound Academy in 2011, and was looking forward ot the Kool Haus Show. Despite the bigger venue, the sound is usually pretty good, and it’s generally easy to find a spot with good sight lines.

The Kills shows seem to be one of the few places where I have to line-up to visit the merch table. Line-up may be a bit of an exaggeration, as it was more of a huddle. Still, I had huddled for over half an hour to buy an overpriced Selena Gomez shirt for my daughter, so the ten minutes or so I spent waiting to buy a Kills poster (#38 of 120) seemed like a bargain in comparison.

As I walked into the Kool Haus Sweet’s “Teenage Rampage” was blaring; a good sign I thought.

First up were the Hunters. Despite the rather pedestrian name, the New York four-piece warmed up nicely. The punky blonde singer had her Siouxise yelps down nicely, and the band delivered background drone that reminded me a little of the Crocodiles. In their all-to0-brief twenty minute set, the band  showed an impressive noise although the Kool Haus stage seemed a bit overwhelming for them. I’d like to see them in a smaller venue such as the Horseshoe.

Next up were Jeff the Brotherhood  from Nashville Tennessee. Hard to describe them as they encompass a variety of styles from garage punk all the way over to a kind of psychedelic rock. Jake and Jamin Orrall, the two brothers who make up the band delivered a punky noise that reminded me a little of Jay Reatard as well as a more traditional arena rock sound. Often within the same song. The treat for the audience, in additional to their set, was the appearance of Alison Mossheart on their final number.

And then we waited.

The Kills took the stage to a leopard print backdrop at 10:30. Unlike the other times I’ve seem the band, this time Alison and Jamie were joined by two members of the Black Rooster Drum Corps, ie., two guys in red bandanas performing stylized, synchronized percussion moves.

The band hit the stage with “No Wow” (the only song they seem to play from the second album), and for the next 65 minutes or so, (plus a lovely 5 song encore), blasted through their back catalogue. It’s hard to say what the highlight of the set was as they never seemed to let up the intensity, even in the quieter songs. And despite the vast size of the stage, the two piece commanded the audience’s attention throughout. 

The sound mix seemed a little muddy in places (during “satellite” for example), but it didn’t seem to slow them down. and before we knew it, the set was over. I was more than a little surprised at how many people flooded out before the encores. I’m almost fifty, and to see people two decades younger than me going home before midnight, before the encore, before the house lights come up, is, well, as I said, surprising.  and yes, I had to work in the morning as well.

 The band did return playing a generous five song encore including a gorgeous cover of the Velvets’ “Pale Blue Eyes.”  And then they really were gone.

For a band celebrating their tenth anniversary, the Kills were on top of their game.

 Set List (acccording to my barely legible handwriting)

1. No Wow
2. Future Starts Slow
3. Heart is a Beating Drum
4. Kissy Kissy
5. UR A Fever
6. DNA
7. satellite
8. Last Day of Magic
9. Crazy
10. Baby Says
11. Hook and Line
12. Black Balloon
13. Tape Song
14. Cheap and Cheerful
15. Pots and Pans

 Encore

The Last Goodbye
Pale Blue Eyes
Sour Cherry
Fuck the People
Monkey 23

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